What the Legislature does

Legislative Mandate

The legislature plays a very important role in Provinces of democratic countries like South Africa. The members of Legislature are elected to represent the people of the Province. They also act as the voice of the people. The Legislature, therefore, is accountable to the people of South Africa. Every five years the people of South Africa get an opportunity to cast their votes for a new Parliament which goes down to Legislatures in Provinces. Each new Legislature is numbered.


The core functions of the Legislature as enshrined in the Constitution are Law making, oversight and public participation. Since the House does not sit on a daily basis, a greater portion of the Legislature business is delegated to its committees, who report back to the House. Thus they represent the engine of the Legislature because in committee-meetings that is where robust debates on issues happen and it is where real oversight work and the investigative role of the Legislature is put in practice.
Committees of the Legislature are established in terms of section 116(2)(a) of The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, Act 108 of 1996 read with the Rules and Orders of the Legislature. The Legislature has select committees which are house committees responsible for internal matters and the portfolio committees established to oversee government portfolio departments.

Committee Responsibilities
  • To deliberate and make recommendation on bills
  • To call departments to account on policy and systems matters
  • To conduct public hearings, and
  • To conduct oversight visits.
Who attend committee meetings?

Committee meetings are open to public thus all members of the public are welcome to attend. The attendance of members of the public strengthens the oversight role in that they (public) know whether services are rendered by government or not. Only in some circumstances that the chairperson may order the committee meeting to be a close session (in camera).